J.lay wrote:I have had a problem with collapsing that left arm and my coaches have been saying to keep it outwards, and when I watched clips of pros and elites, none of them have that arm collapsed, so I assumed I needed to keep it out.
It's a common mistake made by many vaulters and coaches.
It's even more confusing because when you watch vids of elite vaulters, you see them holding onto the pole with their bottom arm (of course), but you can't really tell whether they're just hanging onto the pole, or whether they're pushing it. It's better to talk to coaches and vaulters about this, than to try to interpret what you're seeing in a vid.
Personally, I pushed with my bottom arm in HS because I had read that John Pennel used that technique. However, I didn't understand the bad side of doing that. When I got to U. Washington, that's the first thing that my coach (Ken Shannon) changed in my technique. At first, I argued with him by saying that I *have* to push the pole, or it won't bend. But after doing a few of his drills for a few weeks, I gained confidence that the pole *does* bend just by the force of the *top* hand and your forwards momentum. I learned that the bottom arm is only needed for balance.
There's been a few debates on PVP about this over the past 10 years, and I must say (in all fairness) that some very good coaches still advocate pushing with the bottom arm, and some elite athletes are still successful with this technique.
However, if you're following the Petrov Model (free takeoff; Bubka-like technique), then there's no doubt that there's no intentional pushing with the bottom arm.
J.lay wrote: ... when I watched clips of pros and elites, none of them have that arm collapsed ...
You have to be careful how you interpret what you're seeing in vids.
I think that what you're referring to is that the elites have a lot of "space" between their bottom arm and the pole. So the question is: How do they create that space? And a related question is: What is their body posture?
The answer to the Q about body posture is usually that they have good forwards lean. They are *not* taking off under, and they are therefore *not* getting jerked off the ground when the pole hits the box. This technique is bad, and will cause you to be leaning backwards after takeoff - rather than forwards. And that's what causes your bottom arm to collapse.
Notice that I didn't say that your bottom arm collapses because you didn't hold it still (and push on the pole with it). Rather, it collapses because of an under takeoff, and poor body posture on takeoff.
So now that you understand a bit better re the mechanics of *why* the bottom arm appears to collapse after takeoff, you know what to watch for, and how to fix it. Hint: You don't fix it by applying pressure with the bottom arm!